The World Bank Board has approved $300 million (about UGX. 1.1 trillion) in additional financing to the Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Program for Results (UgIFT) to boost local governments (LGs) service delivery in education, health, water and environment, and micro irrigation, including in areas hosting large populations of refugees.
The financing includes a credit of $240 million and a grant of US$60 million, of which US$50 million will be from the IDA Refugee Support Window (RSW).
The additional financing builds on the initial success of the original UgIFT, amounting to US$200 million to support service delivery in health and education sectors.
The UgIFT program contributes to the Government’s Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Reform Program (IFTRP), which aims to strengthen the financing of local governments, increasing the overall level of funding and reducing the disparities in funding for service delivery across local governments. The IFTRP also aims to improve service delivery through strengthening central government oversight, assessing local government, subcounty, school and health facility performance, providing performance incentives and supporting poorly performing local governments.
Combined, the original and additional UgIFT financing will construct, equip and staff at least 259 new secondary schools. An estimated 1,000 existing primary schools will receive development grants to refurbish and equip their facilities to provide better learning environments and meet basic standards.
Laboratories will be constructed in secondary schools that do not have them. A total of 14,000 primary and 1,400 secondary school teachers will be recruited in the least-staffed districts to enable them to meet minimum school staffing levels. Additional inspectors will be recruited to meet a ratio of 1 inspector to 40 schools. Grants for primary and secondary schools will enable schools to make instructional materials available to teachers and maintain facilities based on student populations.
In health, the combined program will equip, staff and upgrade 380 facilities to health center III (HCIII) level. Up to 500 health centres will be able to access development grants to rehabilitate, expand and equip their facilities to meet minimum standards. At least 11,000 health workers will be hired for the least-staffed districts to enable them to meet minimum facility staffing levels.
The additional financing will enable UgIFT to be extended to two additional sectors— water and environment and small-scale irrigation—. An estimated 750,000 people will benefit from new or repaired water facilities. Districts and municipalities will promote environmental management functions initially focusing on the implementation of public investments, including water resources management and actions against deforestation.
For micro-irrigation, up to 8,000 smallholder farmers in 40 districts will access matching grants to purchase and use micro-irrigation equipment, contributing to raising incomes and food security in rural areas through improved agricultural productivity and improving climate resilience of the poor and vulnerable farming communities.